The Thief And The Cobbler Coloring and Activity Book
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- The Thief And The Cobbler, Richard Williams, animation, animated film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, coloring and activity book, A Christmas Carol, nonogram, word search
The Thief and the Cobbler
Coloring and Activity Book
Promotional Art Inked by Garrett Gilchrist
144 pages of artwork and activities based on the Richard Williams animated film.
Appropriate for both children and adults. We would love to see your creativity on social media.
The Thief and the Cobbler is an unfinished animated film created and directed by three-time Academy Award winning animator Richard Williams (animation director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Christmas Carol and The Animator's Survival Kit). Nearly 30 years in the making, a labor of love by a team of animation greats, this was to be the masterpiece of Williams’ career, perhaps the most ambitious independent animated film ever conceived. After over two decades of work, the film was taken away from Williams when he couldn’t meet his deadline. It was given to another director, recut and destroyed.
In the early 1960s, Williams had illustrated a series of comedic books translated by Idries Shah, about the Sufi mystic Mullah Nasrudin. He intended to develop them into a film, The Majestic Fool. The Shah family demanded too much money, and an original film was developed after Williams' 1972 Academy Award win for A Christmas Carol. The Williams-directed Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure was released in 1977. By 1980 the Thief film had a screenplay by Margaret French, titled "The Thief Who Never Gave Up." Williams put his own money into animating many scenes for the film, inbetween work on animated commercials.
The success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988 caused Warner Bros to finally fund Williams' dream project. Old scenes were reanimated and most of the film as we know it was animated during this time. It is estimated that Richard needed another six months to a year to complete the film when Warner Bros pulled the plug, feeling that the film was uncommercial, and believing whispers that the film would never be completed. At this time, Disney was making a suspiciously similar competing film, Aladdin.
The Thief and the Cobbler was not completed as intended. Versions titled The Princess and the Cobbler and Arabian Knight were released, with sequences directed cheaply by Fred Calvert. The film is almost unrecognizable in this form, and is not available in HD.
In 2006, filmmaker and artist Garrett Gilchrist began an unofficial restoration of the film as the Recobbled Cut, with the help and moral support of several hundred people who had worked on the film or had knowledge of it. He also built a large archive of materials from the production, and of Richard Williams' other work. After eight years of work by Gilchrist, The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mk4 was released in 2013 to widespread acclaim. This seems to have inspired Richard Williams to release his workprint of the film in public screenings as "A Moment In Time." This is not available on home video, despite discussions with AMPAS and the BFI. Richard Williams passed away in 2019.
Garrett Gilchrist had inked several pieces of promotional art for the film in 2006, to allow for a new poster and other prints to be made. While widely seen, this artwork was not quite up to the high standards of Richard Williams' film. Blurry DVD screen grabs had been printed out as reference, which became much blurrier on a lightbox.
Gilchrist decided to revisit the project in 2022, to see if he could reach a much higher standard which resembled the original film. Gilchrist had been a professional artist for 25 years at that point, off and on. Some of the new artwork would be somewhat original or entirely original, when the original reference wasn't clear enough. But the majority of it was based on pencil drawings which had survived from the original film's production, in varying quality. The collection of animator Andreas Wessel-Therhorn was invaluable, as were other private collections contributed over the years.
While most of the artwork from the film hasn't survived, mostly being discarded during the course of the Calvert production, enough drawings have survived to make a representative sampling of the film possible. These drawings were printed out for inking - large enough to take up several pieces of paper - and corrected digitally. Garrett Gilchrist inked over 190 pages of material for this book, a large undertaking. In nearly all cases, the goal was to reproduce a surviving piece of artwork from the film as accurately as possible, and in high quality.
There is some original art by Gilchrist- The Thief reaching, The Thief and Tack with the Golden Balls, Tack handing a mouse to Yum Yum, and a wide shot of the Brigands in the desert (with maze). Full body shots of Yum Yum (standing), Mighty One Eye (fist), The Old Witch (standing), Chief Roofless (pointing) and twelve Brigands are based on very loose and vague reference which had to be redrawn, as were three other shots of Roofless including Nanny fighting a Brigand, and Tack running after the Thief.
For the Recobbled Cut, Hailey Lain and Chris Fern had contributed pencil storyboards for new scenes featuring the Brigands (roughs and finals, respectively). Five of those are included here.
In addition, approximately 30 pages of this book feature pencil sketches and artwork from the production of the original film, that have not been re-inked (but are cleaned up somewhat). These are heavily featured in the nonogram puzzles and "draw this character using a grid" pages, and about six "One Eye War Machine" pages.
It was difficult to reach Richard Williams' high standards, but the art here was so meticulously recreated that it reaches the level of quality needed. It should look good in black and white and color.
This coloring book is intended for all ages. Adults and children should both be able to enjoy the artwork and puzzles here for different reasons. It's a new way to preserve and experience this one-of-a-kind animated masterpiece.
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